|2009 Rally Ireland : WRC Round 1 of 12 : 30th January - 1st February|
In this issue:
1. Leg 2 Unofficial Leaderboard
2. Leg 2 News
3. Event Links
4. Leg 2 Team by Team News
5. Remaining Event Schedule
6. Subscription Information
1. Unofficial Leaderboard
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 2hr 20min 02.8sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 2hr 21min 11.9sec
3. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 22min 33.7sec
4. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 2hr 26min 00.2sec
5. C Atkinson/S Prévot AUS Citroen C4 2hr 26min 04.9sec
6. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 2hr 29min 16.2sec
7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 2hr 29min 54.1sec
8. K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 2hr 31min 52.8sec
9. E Boland/D Morrissey IRL Subaru Impreza 2hr 32min 43.2sec
10 A MacHale/K Duffy IRL Ford Focus RS 2hr 33min 43.2sec
2. Leg News
Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) extended his overnight advantage to 69.1sec, despite sliding off the road on the afternoon's opening test. The Frenchman won five of the six stages. Team-mate Dani Sordo retained second, although the Spaniard lost a few seconds when he stalled in the same stage. Hirvonen was third on the opening stage but a power steering problem towards the end of the next test cost almost 20sec. The 28-year-old Finn was unable to make repairs before the final stage of the loop and dropped a further 30sec. Despite the time loss, he retained third as he returned to service in Sligo where mechanics replaced the power steering system. Behind Hirvonen, Stobart driver Henning Solberg (Ford) holds fourth, despite a front right puncture on the opening stage. Chris Atkinson (Citroen) upped his pace to climb to fifth ahead of team-mate Sébastien Ogier. Ogier slipped to eighth on the opening stage after going off the road and losing 1min 45sec, before regaining sixth this afternoon. Fifth-placed Conrad Rautenbach (Citroen) was the only major retirement when he slid into a ditch on the opening stage.
4. Team by Team News
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen maintained their grip on third place during today's second leg of Rally Ireland. After more than 48 hours of continuous rain the asphalt roads of north-west Ireland were soaked. However, the wet weather failed to wash away the hopes of the Finns who won this afternoon's long opening speed test in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car.
Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila climbed from 25th to 17th in their similar Focus RS WRC after returning to the action under SupeRally rules following yesterday's retirement. Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr lie eighth in the team's third car, the Abu Dhabi driver on target for his first ever point in this opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
#3 : Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "I had a good rhythm this afternoon, probably the best feeling I've had with the car all weekend. I could have driven quicker but it wouldn't mean anything with the large time gaps. There was a lot of standing water and I think the tyres worked well because the water cooled them down, closer to the temperatures in which they are usually used. Temperatures are falling quickly and it could be icy tomorrow which will make it tricky. The pressure will still be there."
#4 : Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila: "A year ago on my first rally with the team in Monte Carlo my times were a long way away from the fastest drivers, but I'm much closer here so I'm very satisfied. I've learned a lot about how to drive and brake in standing water. How can it rain so much? I've never driven in conditions where the car aquaplanes. There's so much water that the grip changes all the time. The main aim is to finish and regain my confidence so I'm not going to take risks in these conditions and I'll continue at a safe speed tomorrow."
#19 : Khalid Al Qassimi/Michael Orr: The fast sections were awesome and I felt like I was flying over the crests. I need to keep the right balance because I'm still learning my limits. I'm not re-evaluating my strategy. I'm focusing on a top 10 finish and if I end up in the points, then that's great."
Citroen Total World Rally Team
The second leg of the 2009 Rally Ireland has seen the two Citroën Total World Rally Team crews strengthen their domination at the sharp end of the provisional leaderboard. A score of five fastest times from a possible six enabled Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena to keep a firm hold on top spot ahead of their team-mates Dani Sordo and Marc Marti. With one day remaining, the two Citroën C4 WRCs appear to be in an ideal position to kick off the new season with a one-two finish.
#1 : Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "It's looking very promising, but this rally is
by no means over. I will try to keep to the same sort of pace tomorrow."
#2 : Daniel Sordo/Marc Marti: "We mustn't lose
sight of our mission, which is to hold on to second place in order to try to notch up a one-two finish for
Citroën. Mikko had a few problems this morning and the gap between us opened up by a further
minute. I am therefore under less pressure, but there is no way I can afford to ease up. I think there
was even more water on the stages this morning than yesterday, and that's saying something!"
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team enjoyed a drama-free second day at Rally Ireland and closed in on a strong result in the opening round of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship.
A sensible approach saw each of the team's three Ford Focus RS WRCs steer clear of trouble and finish the day in scoring positions.
#6 : Henning Solber/Cato Menkerud: "I am very, very happy with my performance today. I was really pushing over the last few stages and had my heart in my mouth at some points, but I've proved I can drive on this surface. I'm not fighting tomorrow for fourth as I came here for top five and that would be perfect for me. I know my limits and I don't want to pass them."
#16 : Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin: "We lost the wipers on the middle stage of the last loop. We repaired them using two spanners for the last stage but they stopped again towards the end and it was hard going. I was actually surprised we didn't lose more time, it could have been much worse. We've had a solid day in what have been really hard conditions."
Citroen Junior Team
Chris Atkinson and Stéphane Prévot spearheaded the attack from the Citroen Junior Team on the second day of the Rally Ireland. Having stepped their pace up a gear, the Citroen C4 WRC crew now ends the second day of the event just a few seconds off fourth place. Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia conclude their day's work in sixth place overall.
#7: Chris Atkinson/Stephane Prevot: " The more we drive, the better feeling I have with the car, and I can tell that
we're also going quicker and quicker. I'm not at the limit yet. We're just taking it step by step. "
#8 : Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt: " The
car got away from me and ended up in a ditch. It wasn't damaged, but we couldn't get it out. "
#11: Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia:"But with the time we lost this morning, there was no question of attacking in the
same way. With each day that passes though we gain more experience. By the end of the day, we
managed to keep up a consistent pace in order to get back to sixth place overall. It's not bad for what
is still only my second WRC event. We're starting to feel comfortable in the car now. There are still a
few things to improve of course, but we're going to work on the set-up together with the team. "
5. Remaing Event Schedule
Sunday 1 February: Day 3 Sligo - Sligo
Serv G Sligo (15 mins) 07.40
SS15 Geevagh 11.48km 08.35
SS16 Arigna 27.90km 09.00
SS17 Lough Gill 13.51km 09.51
Serv H Sligo (30 mins) 10.41
SS18 Donegal Bay 14.47km 12.09
SS19 Donegal Town 1.50km 13.10
Serv I Sligo (10 mins) 14.33
Finish Clarion Hotel, Sligo 15.10
Rally total 366.75km
#5 : Urmo Aava/Kuldar Sikk: "The car was very damp inside after being in the ditch yesterday and that caused us the problem with the windscreen steaming up in the morning. We lost some time because of that but the afternoon was quite good. The car has been working very well and I got a good feeling for it as the day went on, so the last stage was much better for us. We hope to keep improving tomorrow and learn more about the car."